The belief that maintaining a low-fat diet promotes health and prevents disease is perhaps the single biggest misconception responsible for today's epidemics of high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and early death. In a recent report, Dr. Dwight Lundell, a former heart surgeon with 25 years of experience, admits that low-fat diets are actually responsible for destroying health, and explains why consuming fats in proper balance with one another is vital for protecting the body from disease-causing inflammation.
The low-fat diet can be traced to studies conducted as far back as the 1940s, in which scientists observed a correlation between what they saw as "high-fat" diets and high cholesterol levels. From there, over the course of several decades, the ideology that low-fat diets were good for the heart and beneficial in maintaining healthy weight became etched in stone as fact, with little room for honest inquiry or opposition (http://jhmas.oxfordjournals.org/content/63/2/139.full).
Today, however, it is becoming painfully apparent that millions of Americans are needlessly suffering from health conditions brought about by adhering to low-fat diets they were told would help them stay slim and healthy. And as new studies emerge showing that foods like saturated fat, which have been vilified for years as unhealthy and disease-causing, are actually beneficial for health, there is a significant paradigm shift occurring in the way people think about health (http://www.naturalnews.com/035069_low_fat_diet_myths_weight_loss.html).
But because the low-fat diet myth has been perpetuated for so long in mainstream culture, this shift is occurring rather slowly, as many in the medical profession are reluctant to admit they bought into bad science all these years. But Dr. Lundell is one of the rare, humble medical professionals that is now openly proclaiming to the world the truth about the dangers of low-fat diets.
All food fats are a blend of the different types, saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fats include poly- and monounsaturated fats. omega-3s and 6s are types of polyunsaturated fats, called essential because we have to get them from food, our bodies can't manufacture them from other fats.
The Story on the the Good Fats and Bad Fats
Whereas cellular proteins are genetically determined, the polyunsaturated fatty acids composition of all cell membranes is to a great extent dependent on the dietary intake.
There are many kinds of fats in the body. Some of the most crucial fats are in the list of compounds that make up the cell walls for all of the body's cells.
After isolating these fats scientific experiments determined that if the ratio of omega 6 fats to omega 3 fats exceeds 4:1, people have more health problems. This is especially meaningful since grain-fed beef can have ratios that exceed 20:1 whereby grass-fed beef is down around 3:1.
Similar ratios are also found in all grain-fed versus grass-fed livestock products.
Grassfed products are rich in all the fats now proven to be health-enhancing, but low in the fats that have been linked with disease.
Battery cages are small wire cages where about 95 percent of laying hens spend their entire lives; each hen is given about 67-76 square inches of space (a standard sheet of paper measures 94 square inches). To get a sense of a hen's life in a battery cage, imagine spending your entire life in a wire cage the size of your bathtub with four other people. You wouldn't be able to move, so your muscles and bones would deteriorate. Your feet would become lacerated. You would go insane. That's precisely what happens to laying hens.
In the United States, roughly nine billion chickens, pigs and other farm animals are consumed annually, and the vast majority of them are abused in ways that would warrant felony cruelty to animals charges were dogs or cats the victims. But three systems are particularly cruel -- gestation crates for pregnant pigs, veal crates for calves, and battery cages for laying hens. As of Jan. 1, all three are illegal across Europe, and it is past time for the United States and Canada to follow suit.
After decades of consumer outcry, the veal industry recently took the important step of announcing that it will work toward eliminating the crate confinement of calves. And as discussed previously, gestation crates may also be headed for the dust bin of history. While this is positive news for pigs and calves, there is currently no clear end in sight for battery cages, with roughly 95 percent of all eggs in the U.S. still coming from caged hens. There are roughly 4.5 million mother pigs and fewer than 500,000 calves in crates, and approximately 250 million hens in battery cages. So for every caged calf or pig, there are roughly 50 caged hens.
Barren battery cages are so hideously cruel that in addition to having been outlawed across the European Union, they have been condemned by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, which included former Kansas governor John Carlin, former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman (who also chaired the House Agriculture committee), as well as farmers and ranchers. They're also condemned by every animal protection group in the world.
It can promote brain function, memory, and energy levels. It can serve as a massive source of antioxidants and is associated with all sorts of positive health outcomes. Coffee can even effect your body and mind like Chi Gong exercises. It can even help you build muscle without exercising. However, the wrong coffee can sap your health and hurt your performance.
When I started using espresso in college, I got the highest calculus grades of my life. However, I also had severe joint pain, jitters, anxiety, and (although I didn’t know it) I was about to get brain fog. Even bad coffee was an improvement for me then. But after I biohacked myself, I got used to feeling great.
The only problem is that I didn’t feel so great when I drink coffee anymore. Sure, I would get a caffeine driven burst of energy but then I would feel edgy, cranky, and often my joint pain would return. And when the coffee wore off, I was useless mentally.
I thought the negative effects were simply a compromise I would have to live with in order to enjoy coffee. Strangely, I didn’t get these problems with every type of coffee. When I traveled to Europe, I could more often enjoy coffee without any of the negative side effects. So I gave up coffee for 5 very long years.
After years of researching ways I could return to the hot, bitter arms of my great love (coffee, ahem), I finally uncovered the secret to my acute onset coffee malaise.
Heat a large flat skillet on medium to high heat. When hot, add chopped bacon with a tablespoon of pure maple syrup. Saute until the bacon is caramelized and crispy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Remove from the skillet. Set aside. Add a knob of pure salted butter to the hot skillet. Whisk eggs and yogurt in a large bowl and dip bread making sure to get a thick coating. Put in the hot skillet immediately. Cook for one minute on the first side, flip over for another minute on the second side or until crispy and golden brown. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
Cut a piece of french toast diagonally and arrange on a serving plate (refer to picture). Add banana slices, followed by strawberry slices and bacon bits. Drizzle pure maple syrup over the top. Serve warm with powdered sugar sprinkled on top (optional).
How should a regulatory agency announce they have discovered something potentially very important about the safety of products they have been approving for over twenty years?
In the course of analysis to identify potential allergens in GMO crops, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has belatedly discovered that the most common genetic regulatory sequence in commercial GMOs also encodes a significant fragment of a viral gene (Podevin and du Jardin 2012). This finding has serious ramifications for crop biotechnology and its regulation, but possibly even greater ones for consumers and farmers. This is because there are clear indications that this viral gene (called Gene VI) might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.
What Podevin and du Jardin discovered is that of the 86 different transgenic events (unique insertions of foreign DNA) commercialized to-date in the United States 54 contain portions of Gene VI within them. They include any with a widely used gene regulatory sequence called the CaMV 35S promoter (from the cauliflower mosaic virus; CaMV). Among the affected transgenic events are some of the most widely grown GMOs, including Roundup Ready soybeans (40-3-2) and MON810 maize. They include the controversial NK603 maize recently reported as causing tumors in rats (Seralini et al. 2012).
The researchers themselves concluded that the presence of segments of Gene VI “might result in unintended phenotypic changes”. They reached this conclusion because similar fragments of Gene VI have already been shown to be active on their own (e.g. De Tapia et al. 1993). In other words, the EFSA researchers were unable to rule out a hazard to public health or the environment.
It’s universally accepted that wild fish like salmon, which eat the algae and plankton at the bottom of the sea, are a healthier source of protein over their coastline fish farm-raised counterparts. Over their life span of eating sea greens, these fish accumulate a wonderful concentration of essential fatty acids in their muscles. When we take in these essential fatty acids (also known as ‘good fats’), these health benefits are conferred to our bodies: These healthy fats create lower inflammation in our blood vessels.
Inflammation is a major factor in many diseases including heart disease, cancer, emotional illness and auto-immune conditions. In fact, inflammation is more of a factor in heart disease than even cholesterol. Healthy fat intake from fish has been shown to be an important factor for better brain function, and strongly suspected as the main reason populations who eat more fish-based diet have lower levels of anxiety and depression too.
What About the Beef?
What many people do not know, however, is that when cows eat green plants like grass, they will also accumulate healthy fatty acids in their muscle tissue in a way that is similar to the way the fish do it. The same for chicken. The problem is, most of the meat and chicken we eat come from animals that are fed grains, corn and genetically modified soy. When range animals are fed these grains, corn and soy, they do not collect these same unsaturated healthy fats in their muscle tissue, and instead collect more saturated, unhealthy fats. In natural food stores, these meats are touted as “antibiotic and hormone free,” “natural,” “organically-fed” and “grain-fed.” Meat that is labeled this way simply means that the animals were not treated with nasty hormones or antibiotics to help them grow faster (by the way, 70 percent of the total antibiotics used in the world are used specifically to make livestock grow faster).
While natural meats are certainly a step up from the regular antibiotic and hormone treated animals, being "natural" doesn't necessarily help the fatty acid profile of the animal meat — which may be the most important piece for our health. The problem here is that most meat labeled “organic” typically comes from animals that were still fed grains — not grass or plants. So this meat will not have the healthy unsaturated fats we humans need for lower inflammation and healthy arteries.
Sixty two countries have either banned or required mandatory labels for GMO foods (as of late 2012). This includes not only all of Europe, but also China, India, Brazil, Russia, and Syria. In Europe, GMO food represents a very small proportion of the food supply, but it's not banned.
In the USA, GMO food quietly entered the food supply in the 1990s and has been sold to unsuspecting consumers ever since, without any labeling. In that time, America has seen sharp rises in allergies, bowel-related diseases, and autism compared to countries that don't eat GMOs.There are many different GMO foods, and we have almost no scientific knowledge as to which ones are safe.
There have been very few controlled studies on the health impact of GMOs; no controlled human trials; and only one long-term animal study. Scientists are impeded from conducting tests. Researchers are legally barred from access to the GMOs, and the derivative foods are unlabeled, making controlled experiments nearly impossible.
The only long-term study found that GMO corn caused massive tumors and premature death in rats starting after one hundred days. Critics complained about the sample size and types of rats used in this study; but those were the exact same as the FDA-approval study, which cleared the GMO corn as "safe" after monitoring impact on rats for only ninety days. I believe the science so far is inconclusive, and I'd love to see more studies.
Some of the simplest and healthiest habits in life are the most difficult for us to maintain. For years, medical professionals shrugged off this simple truth, but recently more and more of us are acknowledging our responsibility in this realm. It takes time to sit down with each patient and tease out where they need help, but we know a simple, quick lecture to "eat plenty of fruits and vegetables" just doesn't work.
Eating, breathing, and exercising are some of the most basic things we do to keep our bodies functioning well, or not. Over time, our occasional unhealthy behaviors can become habits, and we feel like we're doing it all wrong. I cannot count how my times I've personally had to start again with eating healthier, meditating/breathing, and exercising more regularly. As much as I wish I could be a shining beacon of health, one who never wavers, I'm just like my patients. I too need reminders and have to start with the basics.
Walking through the park today, I saw two men standing on stilts. Then I noticed they were juggling, tossing the juggling clubs back and forth to each other. I learned something: Try as they might, they couldn't learn this feat without some help. They'd brought someone else along as an assistant, and every time they dropped a club, their assistant would hand it back. Though this post isn't about juggling, the image of the jugglers is relevant.
Learning to do new things on our own requires assistance in the beginning, and when we're struggling. I find this to be especially true for some of the easiest things in life, like eating, breathing, and exercising. We know how to do these things, kind of. Many of us are struggling. And we may not know where or why we're struggling, which is exactly why outside assistance could help.
There is a conspiracy of selling out happening in America. Politics and personal interest it would seem determine government policies over and above health and safety issues. When President Obama appointed Michael Taylor in 2009 as senior adviser for the FDA, a fierce protest ensued from consumer groups and environmentalists. Why? Taylor used to be vice president for Monsanto, a multinational interested in marketing genetically modified (GM) food. It was during his term that GMO's were approved in the US without undergoing tests to determine if they were safe for human consumption.
The danger of GMO's
The question of whether or not genetically modified foods (GMO's) are safe for human consumption is an ongoing debate that does not seem to see any resolution except in the arena of public opinion. Due to lack of labeling, Americans are still left at a loss as to whether or not what is on the table is genetically modified. This lack of information makes the avoiding and tracking of GM foods an exercise in futility.
Below are just some of the food products popularly identified to be genetically modified:
1. Corn - Corn has been modified to create its own insecticide. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared that tons of genetically modified corn has been introduced for human consumption. Monsanto has revealed that half of the US's sweet corn farms are planted with genetically modified seed. Mice fed with GM corn were discovered to have smaller offspring and fertility problems.
2. Soy - Soy has also been genetically modified to resist herbicides. Soy products include soy flour, tofu, soy beverages, soybean oil and other products that may include pastries, baked products and edible oil. Hamsters fed with GM soy were unable to have offspring and suffered a high mortality rate.
3. Cotton - Like corn and soy, cotton has been designed to resist pesticides. It is considered food because its oil can be consumed. Its introduction in Chinese agriculture has produced a chemical that kills cotton bollworm, reducing the incidences of pests not only in cotton crops but also in neighboring fields of soybeans and corn. Incidentally, thousands of Indian farmers suffered severe rashes upon exposure to BT cotton.
Let's talk about water fluoridation. And, being that I'm a dentist, you'll probably be a little surprised by my stance on it. At least in terms of it being included in water.
As you likely know, fluoride is a chemical that is commonly found in most toothpaste brands. People use fluoridated toothpaste as a means to strengthen teeth (i.e. prevent cavities) and normally don't think much further about it. Which is fine -- that's pretty much how it's marketed.
Since the late 1990s, the United States Food and Drug Administration has made it mandatory for toothpastes to carry a warning in regards to fluoride usage. But why would the FDA post a warning on a toothpaste ingredient? Doing research on what fluoride is reveals that the chemical is now considered a potential toxic drug, and ingesting enough of the ingredient could be harmful.
Now, I don't want to scare you -- brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste isn't harmful. Nor is a dentist using a gel-type fluoride treatment when you get your checkup. Uses like that are topical usages -- you don't ingest it. And even if you do ingest some toothpaste (etc), the levels of fluoride aren't going to pose any threat. And it does prevent cavities.
But in terms of it being added to water, I'm not so sure that's a good thing. Adding fluoride has been a standard in many countries for years. However, several countries (mainly Europe) have taken an active stance on banning fluoride from their drinking water. And I'm with them -- I do not see the good in fluoridating our drinking water. I definitely see the reasoning why countries would add it -- it helps prevent cavities. But as a dentist, I think cavity prevention can be done just as effectively without putting fluoride in our water. To me, the "bad" it can (potentially) do outweighs the good.
Cake mixes, which were first introduced in the 1930s, didn't really catch on until after World War II. And even then, despite stereotypes of the apron-clad '50s housewife juggling taking care of kiddos and cleaning the house with just enough time to whip together instant baking creations, cake mixes actually weren't popular at first.
Simply adding water to a dry mix wasn't enough to make consumers feel proud of their baking handiwork. So, those crafty manufacturers reformulated their mixes so that consumers had to add fresh eggs themselves. Sneaky.
Today, the same appeal exists. Just add a few ingredients and baking a masterpiece of a cake (that's all your own) becomes a piece of cake. Whether a mix or a homemade cake rates better on the tasty-scale, will probably be a debate that goes on, well, forever. But from a health standpoint, there's no debate. Homemade cakes are healthier, even if it is dessert.
Why? Because you're in control. You can choose what ingredients go into your cake. Using whole, fresh and organic flours, sugars and butter, will blow any conventional cake mixes' ingredients out of the oven.
Need proof? Take a look:
Ingredients in Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake Mix:
(I'm going to pick on Duncan Hines, although other popular cake mix brands including Betty Crocker and Pillsbury have similar ingredients.)
Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters Of Fats, Mono and Diglycerides), Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate). Contains 2% Or Less Of: Wheat Starch, Salt, Dextrose, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cellulose Gum, Artificial Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Modified Cornstarch, Colored with (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake).
Almost half of all the food we produce in the world never makes it to a plate. Today, we allow a staggering two billion tons of food to go to waste each and every year. If we eliminated this unnecessary food waste, we could potentially provide 60-100 percent more food to feed the world's growing population.
These are just some of the shocking statistics from a new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME), highlighting once again how staggeringly wasteful our food and farming system is. But it's not just simply the food that's going to waste: think about all the wasted energy, water, chemicals and labor that went into producing, transporting, and storing what is ultimately just left to rot.
The IME's new report mirrors a 2011 study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), entitled Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention. The FAO found that industrialized countries waste 222 million tons of food every year -- almost equivalent to the annual net food production in sub-Saharan Africa. In the United States alone, we waste more than 29 million tons of food each year. That's enough to fill the 90,000-seat Rose Bowl every day, according to food-waste guru, Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland.
Look around and it's clear that we're not just wasting food by letting it rot or throwing it away. It's a well-known fact that we already produce more than enough food today for everyone to have the nourishment they need to thrive. But while the number of people suffering from chronic hunger increased from under 800 million in 1996 to over one billion in 2009, obesity and diet-related ill health in the West is running out of control. Although the U.S. makes up only five percent of the world's population, we account for almost a third of the world's weight due to obesity. As our diets have changed to incorporate the ever-increasing availability of cheaper meat and dairy products and highly processed food, devastating diet-related diseases -- like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some diet-related cancers -- have reached epidemic levels in the US.
In 2008, 33.8 percent of U.S. adults were diagnosed as clinically obese. One in three people born in 2000 in the U.S. will develop Type 2 diabetes by 2050. Between 1976 and 1980 and 2007 to 2008, obesity among U.S. pre-school age children -- we're talking about kids of just two to five years of age -- increased from five percent to 10.4 percent. During the same period, obesity among six to 11-year-olds increased from 6.5 percent to 19.6 percent, and among 12 to 19-year-olds we saw an increase from five percent to 18.1 percent. According to a study of the national costs attributed to overweight and obese people, medical expenses associated with these conditions alone accounted for 9.1 percent of total U.S. medical expenditures in 2006 -- and may have reached as high as $78.5 billion ($92.6 billion in 2002 dollars).
The holiday season has left everyone with a lack of energy. Happy, but tired. Too much partying or just too much emotion? The good news is that this year has been declared the international year of quinoa by the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations). This famous Peruvian superfood has the power to nurture us well into the new year.
2012 was a good year for Peruvian cuisine, it's starting to get the recognition it deserves. You see, we eat dishes that not only fill our bellies but also our soul. Like superheroes, these ingredients have special powers. Maca, the Andean root, gives you a boost of energy. 'Kausac', a potato dish, literally means 'life' - and that's what it gives us. Kiwicha's grain flies through space as part of NASA's astronaut menu. And this year Huayllabambana, a new Peruvian superhero, was discovered - this super seed can produce oil which is 66% Omega 3.
Red, purple and gold carpets of quinoa flowers today drift happily from side to side high up in the Andes. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) was an Inca treasure. Each year the Incan emperor would ceremonially plant the first seeds of the season, digging into the soil with his golden spade. Quinoa was hugely valuable in the Inca trade system and during the solstice priests would offer vessels filled with quinoa to the ancient Inca sun God, Inti. The Spanish, unaware of it's rich properties, replaced it with other cereals in their diet. Despite that, Andean people have protected the tradition that surrounds this crop allowing present and future generations to enrich themselves with quinoa. So we're glad the Spanish didn't find the gold after all!
Known as the 'mother grain' for its balanced nutritional value, it has a high quality protein, high fibre content, minerals and plenty of vitamins. If compared to other similar grains in its category, then quinoa wins hands down; its power is impressive. Take for example its iron content, it has twice the amount that beans have and three times more than rice. It's considered to be a gluten free cereal, so its flour is a perfect solution for coeliac diets.